Monday, 30 January 2017

LAZY PRIESTS!


BLOG ALSO AVAILABLE ON:  thinkingcatholicism.org





This week I had a meeting with a priest of an English Catholic diocese who told me that he belonged to a small group of priests in the diocese who called themselves the SOCIETY OF PERPETUAL RECREATION – SPR

The motto of this society is: “TO WORK ONE DAY (SUNDAY) AND TO “DOSS” FOR SIX DAYS”.

The founder of the SPR was an Irish priest from Kanturk in County Cork – Canon Denis McSweeneywho was a well known priest of the Catholic Diocese of Northampton. However he was well known in the dioceses of Westminster and Birmingham also.

There are still a number of members of the SPR alive and well.

CANON DENIS MC SWEENEY


As a priest he was well known in the biker community. He was also famous for his collection of antiques – especially old telephones, wind up gramophones. He was also famous as an art collector.


CANON MC SWEENEY LEFT


Mind you Denis McSweeney was liked by many clergy and people and he was very human and friendly and a great story teller.


CANON MC SWEENEY IN THE LONDON ACE BIKERS CLUB



The SPR encouraged its member priests to spend six days a week meeting each other and following up their own hobbies. The priest I spoke to was an “officer” is the SPR and at meetings of the Society he was required to dress up in a bishop’s purple mozetta (red cape).


MOZETTA

He also had to wear this mozetta when they met in


 pubs and hostelries for "meals, drinks and laughs". My priest friend said: 

"There are still living SPR members in England. It was a totally subtle secret society, I know members who were Cagney & Lacey and Wycliffe fans , we didn't answer the door 🚪or phone".

WHAT IS MY EXPERIENCE OF LAZY PRIESTS AND THE SPR?

I have no personal experience of the SPR but I have known a few priests in my time who did little or no work. My fellow curate in St Peter's Cathedral, Belfast Fr Joe Mc Gurnaghan RIP from 1978 - 1983 had the following daily routine:


In fairness to Joe he never should have been a priest. I think he was pushed into the priesthood by an overbearing and bullying school principal father. 

9 am ...........Mass.

9.30 am - Breakfast and read the Irish Times.

10 am to 1 pm - Listen to classical music.

1 pm - 4 course Lunch with sherry, red wine and Cafe Royale.

2pm - 6 pm Siesta and more classical music.

6 pm - High Tea.

7 - Midnight - TV, classical music and Remy Martin cognac. 

He only departed from this routine on one day - his DAY OFF :-)

In my 40 years in the priesthood I have known hardworking priests and clerical dossers and a fair few in between.

Personally I preferred to be very active. My routine in St Peter's would have been:

9 am Rise, Breakfast and Mass.

10 am to 12.30 pm - chaplaincy work at St Louise's School on the Falls Road.




12.30 - 1.30 - Lunch in St Louise's or at the presbytery.

1.30pm - 4 pm - chaplaincy work at St Peter's Boys Secondary School, Briton's Parade, Belfast.



4 pm - 6 pm House visitation around parish.

6 pm - Tea.

7 pm - 9.30 pm - Parish Youth Club.

9.30 - 1 am - Parish Social Clubs, work with "joyriders" etc.

On top of this I had my share of funerals, weddings, baptisms, house masses, retreats, prayer meetings, self help groups, etc.

I was both very happy and very fulfilled - if not at times a little worn out.


In the priesthood you can either be a "dosser" or a "worker" and you will get away with it either ways.

There are plenty of dossers among the priests in parishes.

I think there are even more dossers in religious orders.





The priesthood can either be a WASTED LIFE or a VERY FULFILLING LIFE.

I'd like to hear the readers experiences of dosser priests and hard working priests.









58 comments:

  1. Father you raise a very important topic. I'm rushing off to work. Some Priests are presently reducing the number of Masses in parishes, Newry being an example. They are justifying it by claiming that the number of clergy has reduced. How can a Parish with two Priests cut Sunday Masses from 5 to four? Are they secret members of this sbr You talk about?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I cant understand it. I would have no problem celebrating 6 Masses a day if needed.

      Maybe the bishop in Newry - McAreavy could help.

      What does he do all day Sunday?

      Delete
  2. Pat , I see that Vincent Nichols ,AB of Westminster is giving a lecture on " significant aspects of The Jubilee of Mercy " in St Brigid's Church on Tuesday 7 th February 2017 at 7.30pm . Everyone welcome

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if Dean Kennedy will be there to greet him?

      Delete
    2. I wonder how many of our hierarchy will turn up to fawn .The Dean might be the M.O.C .?

      Delete
  3. More anti catholic bile!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My friend you are wrong. First of all I am a catholic (small c) so why would I be anti Catholic?

      I am anti Catholic abuse, corruption, untruth and clerical and hierarchy domination.

      Todays blog is based on what a priest told me and what I have personally observed for decades.

      There are good priests, bad priests, lazy priests and hard working priests.

      Fact!

      Delete
  4. It takes all types to make a world and who am I to judge how active or lazy a priest is. I know ones who appear to be the Sunday priest only and yet have caught him travelling to x and back to y to visit those in need.
    Ive lived in an order were men appear to be busy but more like jet setting on the next holiday.

    I'm just glad I am me in all my imperfections

    ReplyDelete
  5. You do realise that the SPR was a joke set up by Dennis McSweeney? It was all very tongue in cheek. The point of lazy priests is different. A priest is called to a life of service and so should serve the people he has been sent to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My priest unformant said that he lived the SPR lifestyle.

      Delete
  6. The SPR thing was a joke, it seemed to attract like-minded people though. Some of the shenanigans were questionable. We shouldn't speak badly of a dead priest though, I think there's too much of that kind of thing on here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why are we so sensitive about telling the truth even about dead priests?

      Can we not honestly say Fr X was a great priest and Fr Y was a lazy priest?

      Delete
  7. I am outraged at what is going on in the parish I live in. My mother was seriously ill for a while and when she was in hospital she worried that the priest never got his Christmas box envelope. He does little worrying about the older generation that keeps him fed and watered. Any time she was ill though he lives two minutes away he never inquired after her, never called to see her never went to the hospital to see her. Never looks after any of the sick. His Church of Ireland counterpart is a totally different man and made sure to visit his sick parishioners often. The priest is Vicar General of Raphoe diocese and is totally clericalised and the sermons are startling in their fundamentalism - ie literal Adam and Eve and literal snake and literal apple all that. It gets him nowhere for at a recent event to mark his ordination only Protestants and a few ingrained devotees of his own went.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would you not go and see the priest and tell him you are not satisfied with the service he is providing?

      Delete
  8. Is SPR still in existence? I thought some members had died or moved away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some have died. Some have moved away. But apparently there are still a few left.

      Having said that there are many priests still living the "spirituality" of the SPR :-)

      Delete
  9. What about the sexuality of SPR ?!

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  10. Couldn't really comment about the sexuality of SPR. Some of its members did frequent certain drinking establishments which they frequently met. Pulloxhill was one such place in Bedfordshire. There were several others to my knowledge.

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  11. Pat are you in this SPR or do you know any Priests that is part of it. How do you qualify for membership?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. I am not in the SPR nor have I ever been.

      To be a member you have to be in Holy Orders and desire to be a DOSSER - that is work on one day and doss the other six.

      I will try and find out how you apply for membership.

      They do have one representative in Dromore Diocese in Northern Ireland.

      Delete
    2. I rang my SPR contact and he told me that you cannoy apply to join the SPR.

      You have to be invited into it by a current member in good standing.

      After that there is a probationary period to make sure you are a dedicated and determined dosser.

      Delete
  12. Not all the members are in Holy Orders, some lay people were in it too. I think it all fizzled out when Canon Dennis died though. He was very close to some of the lay members

    ReplyDelete
  13. Think my PP is in The SPR because he's never there when you need him. Co. Antrim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You will find that he is either a member or one who follows the SPR manual :-)

      Delete
  14. I think there was a Nun in the SPR. Who was it's Secretary? I remember a young Priest was part of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Was the nun in Holy Orders?

      Apparently there is no lower or upper age limit.

      Nor is there any discrimination on grounds of race, color, sexual orientation or ability / disability.

      Its quite forward thinking in those ways.

      Delete
    2. The Nun was in Holy Orders and your correct in saying they had forward thinking. Some of its members even conducted Services in other Christian Churches.

      Delete
  15. Pat, in your opinion can only a priest carry out the sacraments? Is it possible for lay people to carry out baptisms, the Eucharist, Confession? When I married my Vietnamese atheist wife, I had no opportunity or even desire then for a church wedding. In my heart I made the vows. Looking at your blog you go over the same problems again and again and that is the issues surrounding the priesthood and quality of its ministers. Would it not be easier just to take this factor out of the equation and have the laity conduct the sacraments? Salvation is not through a priest or medicine man but through God. Theologians don't have to be priests either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have always believed that ANYONE can baptise.

      In the Letter of James 5:16 he says: "Confess your sins one to another".

      In my opinion if two Christians sat down with bread and wine and asked Christ to be present he would be.

      In Catholic teaching THE COUPLE are the MINISTERS of the Sacrament - the priest only being the witness.

      I do think that we need a whole new theology of priesthood.

      Having said that there is basis in Scripture for presbyters (priests), deacons and overseers (bishops).

      CLERICALISM is the cancer of priesthood and ministry.

      Delete
    2. I agree with everything you said, Bishop Pat.

      As regards the Last Supper, Jesus told ordinary, non-ordained men (perhaps some women) to 'do this in memory of me'.

      At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to ALL present, not just to The Twelve.

      I belive very much in the commonality of priesthood: that no special ordination ritual (Holy Orders) is a pre-requisite for commemorating the Last Supper.

      Priests sometimes oppose the idea of a common priesthood. Why? I suspect they want to maintain the line of demarcation between clergy and laity: to hold on to what they perceive is privilged, hierarchical status. This has done untold damage to the Church.

      Delete
    3. In the parish where I work and used to live (though I was never involved in parish life) it was announced last year that two satellite churches would close. Whether this is the case of a genuinely overworked priest or another member of the club, I don't know, but surely there might be, to keep within the current rules, a devout widower who could be fast tracked for ordination to minister to his community and keep these churches open in an area with a lot of elderly people. Even with the best will in the world and the assistance of car driving fellow parishoners, many I'm sure will miss being able to pop into the church to pray, and some may have to give up regular mass attendance completely if car shares and lifts do not work out or prove impractical. I thought it would be rather nice if the community together could buy the church and hold services while trying to find ad hoc or a regular priest, or even themselves explore "a new theology??" http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/14687753.Holland_and_Jaywick_churches_to_close_due_to__unsustainable_workload__for_Clacton_priest/

      Delete
    4. I think at one time, the priest was the only one with any education. Universal education has come in the last 50-100years. I suspect that most of the lure of the priesthood was free university education. When most people could afford it, vocations plummeted.

      Delete
    5. Tom, when I was a student priest, I once held a service when no one turned up to preside at a scheduled Mass. I had already receiceved the ministries of Lector and Acolyte, so I decided to conduct the service (which I did not want to do, but so very many people would have been disappointed) with everything except the Eucharistic Prayer. It went down a treat with the congregation! We had a virtual Mass, so to speak, along with the Eucharistic food from the tabernacle.

      My point to all of this is to remind people that Eucharistic ministers today could do exactly as I did back then. There is no need to close church buildings.

      Sadly, the all-pervading clericalism in the Church does not want to share liturgical functions with the laity.

      As a matter of fact, there is no crisis in the Church through the growing shortage of priests, but one that has been manufactured through lack of clerical humility.

      Delete
    6. I think education in general has been the bane of the priesthood, the Catholic Church and organised religion in general. Why be a shaman now when one can earn one's bread in so many other different ways? Priests are no longer top dogs in their piece of turf. Though social mobility is still dreadful, one obvious casualty has been the priest whose former power is no more.

      Delete
    7. 21:10, the priest never had any 'power'; that always belonged to Christ.

      Delete
    8. Power as social power. The power to intimidate, to discipline, to stand unchallenged in the pulpit or lectern and castigate those who didn't conform to society's norms, the power to frighten small children with tales of hell and bogeymen. That sort of power.

      Delete
    9. THAT POWER. never belonged to Christ.

      Delete
  16. I think the Dromore Priest you refer to is based in Newry.

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    Replies
    1. Then that's TWO at least in Dromore.

      Delete
    2. At least two dossers and at least one coke head.

      No wonder McAreavy is cancelling Sunday Masses.

      Delete
  17. Does the SPR exist in Armagh?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure it does in spirit - if not in fact.

      But it does not seem as popular there as GRINDR.

      Delete
  18. From what I've heard of SPR it's sexuality would be questionable.

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    Replies
    1. You mean that "The Antique Disposition" might be well represented in the SPR?

      Delete
  19. I think the nun was actually a man who was referred to as Sister!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some of the Priests in SPR referred to each other as 'Sister'.

      Delete
  20. I also think there was a Papal Count in the SPR who wore a big papal decoration or medal. Most odd behaviour.

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  21. He wasn't a former Dean of the Catholic cathedral in Belfast by any chance.

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  22. The funniest of all in Ireland are the chaplains to the Knights of Malta. They somehow think that they are the equivalent of the knights themselves, who are in the main from some of the older very high brow Catholic families and can prove that their predecessors can bear arms. Then these working class free educated career priests get themselves ordained for dioceses and then join the Knights of Malta as chaplains. It's embarrassing, since they become more regal (in their own minds) than the Knights themselves. They're absurd and spend more time preening themselves in preparation for Knights of Malta services than administering to their own parishes. The Knight's families wouldn't piss on these chaplains forbears if they were on fire.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why single out "working class free educated career priests" for criticism? I have always wondered why the vast bulk of the clergy are middle class and why this is rarely ever mentioned when the collapse of irish catholicism is discussed. By and large with notable exceptions priests come from privileged backgrounds and are out of touch with real people and the problems they face.

      Delete
    2. Nuala, Priests used to come from middle class but not for the past 40 years

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    3. Its a club Nuala and like the India Cast system you'll be placed in your cast.

      Working class wel in my opinion that's were they will stay.

      I'm proud to be a working class servant to all.

      Delete
  23. I notice recurring comments, probably from the same source, sneering at priests from a working class background. I do guess a blog about priests and the Catholic Church attracts its fair share of Phalangists but the nature of some of the remarks suggest either psychological fixation as one might have with the Greeks or just a troll.

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  24. They all look like Pantomime Dames when all dressed up. The Knighting and Investiture Service with them using a sword is cringeworthy.

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  25. As you say Pat - the choice is there, work and be a true servant of the people or doss and regardless of choices you get away with it whatever you may decide.

    Some I guess are people's people and others have very little or no people's skills.

    Some are of great comfort in times of difficulties, whereas others couldn't care less at the end of the day.

    Priests are at different stages in their lives and vocations I always sensed.

    Some are passionate, dedicated and hardworking - others disenchanted, disillusioned and totally disinterested and wondering why they're there.

    I often ask Priests - would you change all this if you could? Resoundingly NO is the clear and concise answer given.

    What would you have done if you hadn't joined the Priesthood?

    I don't really know, that's a tough question.

    Most just left schools and colleges and went to the seminary direct without any experiences of common life and it's many trials and tribulations.

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  26. Sounds like a watered down divestiture of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence... but without the make-up. Obviously, priests have a lot of time on their hands nowadays. Grindr or SilverDaddies seem to be the preferred recreational options now.

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  27. The way a priest sees his "job" depends very much on how he sees himself as a person in my opinion. Work can be something to be hated and avoided. It can be something to be done with more than normal zeal as a way of avoiding facing issues. Then there is the issue of compensation for "loosing out on normal life" This can be lavish lifestyle the car alcohol or dare I say sexual activity exhagerated of course. The key is ballance which sadly some priests appear to lack

    ReplyDelete